Wednesday, August 03, 2011

So close, but so different

One of the most popular sub-genres of inspirational romance today is Amish romance. I haven't read any of the books, but I did watch a movie a while back based on one of Beverly Lewis's Amish novels. I've always been rather fascinated by these people who live in a world right out of the last century.

Last year I learned there's a settlement of Amish not too far from here in Ethridge, Tennessee. And a couple Saturdays ago, a friend and I decided to take a road trip there.

Because the Amish do not like to have their photographs taken (they think it will take away their soul), I respected their beliefs and only have a couple photos taken before we entered their neck of the woods.

Heading toward the Amish settlement in a horse-drawn wagon.

I'm not going to bore you by reciting a laundry list of things I learned about this settlement. You can read all about it here. I will tell you one thing that website doesn't cover -- Rumspringa. Rumspringa "generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community. The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church." This group of Amish doesn't participate in Rumspringa. Our guide said you're either Amish or English (the term used by the Amish to refer to non-Amish folks). Period. He also said if someone leaves the sect, an empty coffin is buried and the person is considered dead by his family and the community. I think that would make someone think very, very seriously about leaving.

We stopped several times along the way at different farms. The owners have hand-lettered signs by the road indicating what they sell. Many sell the vegetables they grow and they also have jellies, pickles, breads, furniture and baskets. One even had a Jersey cow listed for sale.

We're talking about going back in the fall when the farmers make sorghum. It'll be cooler then and maybe the leaves will be turning and we can see the countryside wearing different colors. But the Amish will still be in black and gray and dark blue -- the plain people.

The goodies I bought -- muscadine jelly, bread and butter pickles and a basket.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live without modern conveniences? I did without power for six days after April's tornadoes, but I still had running water and a cell phone.


PC's Mom said...

I have no romantic notions about "the good old days" especially when it comes to using an outhouse!! I had a great,great aunt who saw no need for in-door plumbing - after all she had lived just fine without it for 75 years. I fondly remember visiting all my great, great aunts and uncles on a Sunday afternoon. However, eventually all that sweet tea I had been drinking had to be dealt with and I always hoped it wouldn't be at Aunt Grace's!

Cheryl said...

I often wonder how we would all fare if we had no modern conveniences. I, too, had no power for 11 days after the tornadoes in April but we had generators. I think, with time and doing without we would learn. But I do not want to go without air conditioning!

The Amish and the Mennonites are wonderful at working with leather. We buy a lot of things from them for the horses. I also like their jellies and pickles, PM. Great post!

Smarty Pants said...

I fully anticipate there will be a time where something happens in the future - be it a zombie apocalypse, plague, war, etc. that ends up taking out our power grid and plunks the remaining people back in the dark ages. I can only hope that I'm dead when that happens because I just don't think I can hack it.

Stephanie Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean Hovey said...

(That was me who just deleted. Apparently Stephanie logged on to blogger yesterday at my house and my comment had her name.)

I love to read about the Amish. I'm fascinated. Though I am not a reality show fan, a few years ago there was a series called "Amish in the City" where teens on Rumspringa lived with teens in a mansion in California. There is a wonderful book by Jodi Picoult called "The Plain Truth" about a teenage
Amish girl accused of killing her baby.

I've visited an Amish community in the fall and pumpkins and gourds.

But I have no illusions about the lifestyle. I want to read about them by light and watch them on TV. You have made me think how hot they must be today. And yesterday. And it seems like tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow . . . .

Instigator said...

I nearly croaked when the charger for my macbook split in two and the battery went dead. Seriously. I spent way more than I should have on a replacement because I couldn't go without the thing for even 24 hours.

I would go through serious withdrawal without my electronics. Even during the tornadoes I had my cel phone which gave me sporadic access to the internet, email and facebook. I needed that connection to the outside world. That's how we found out where food, gas and other supplies were. The Amish lifestyle is definitely not for me.


PM's Mother said...

Why do we complicate our lives with so much electronic junk? Are you better off with all of this information overload? I will admit that I am addicted to my computer, but it is more curiosity than need to know.

I would not care to live the simple life of the Amish, but life would be so much easier if we would simplify, simplify...
(Thank you Thoreau)

Word verification: reall -- as in get a reall life! ;-)

Angel said...

Well, I have a real life (too real, sometimes) but that doesn't stop me from being addicted to my electronics (phone, facebook, our blog, email). Actually, I think it might make me MORE addicted to them.

My electronics are often my connection with others. I can't see my mother, sister, friends every day, but I can reach out to them via email or Facebook. I don't like to watch the news with my kids in the room, so I often get it via the web, etc.

So while I wouldn't like being thrown into the dark ages without power, I could handle it somehow. The thing that would upset me the most would be not being able to reach friends and family far away. Knowing that I could walk past them only a mile away and not know they were there. Of course, this isn't much of an issue for Amish people, because I imagine they stay in the same communities for a lifetime.

I'd love to visit up there with my children.


robertsonreads said...

I have no notions, romantic or otherwise, no thank you!

word verification - flexesi

No, I am not flexesi without my conveniences.

Problem Child said...

Okay, so all my comments from this week have gone missing?

Argh. And it was quite witty too.